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Why Are You Working So Hard?

August 7, 2008 | 77 Comments

Post to the Host:
The schedule for the Rhubarb tour in August seems quite daunting, seventeen shows in three weeks. I'm sure the people who get to see the show will be thrilled, but, why are you working so hard this summer? Who's minding your tomato plants?


No tomato plants here, just flowers in pots and some birch trees struggling in the drought. And I am a forgetful gardener at best. My parents were terrific gardeners and I was just a little slug in their shadows. We tend to avoid our parents' competence. So I went into this other line of work which includes jumping around on stage, which they never dreamed of doing—would never have done—and because the show is not like any other show, there is an obligation to run it out there and let it be seen. A show doesn't exist unless it goes out onstage. And the touring show is a sort of distillation of parts of the broadcast—hot music, duet singing, poetry, dolphin singing, sound effects, stories, a big two-and-a-half hour carnival. Touring itself is not onerous if you travel with professionals, which I do. Sam Hudson and Albert Webster, with Tom Scheuzger and Ken Evans, handle all of the hard work, and Deb Beck is the tour manager who does the details, and then there's just me and the cast, all of whom are grown-ups who want to be doing this. Pat Donohue and Rich Dworsky are the best musicians I ever got to work with, and every night they come in for sound check and bring an intensity and focus to the show that is the heart and soul of the matter. And Fred Newman is a trouper and a showman from the word go. And now this summer we have Suzy Bogguss who is a real singer's singer. And Andy Stein and his Venuti fiddle and his Gus Cannon saxophone. And Joe Savage our steel guy. And Peter Johnson and Gary Raynor the rhythm section. So you see, it's not hard work really. It's a big last hurrah and then I come back home and work on the novel. That's hard work.


I am devastated that the Rhubarb Tour is not coming near Texas - we a have a State Fair, too, you know! Are any of them going to be broadcast live?

I too thought it was a daunting schedule. Do you ever have trouble remembering where you are, (as in "If it's Tuesday it must be Belgium?"

the closest you come to Florida is...New Jersey??? Puh-leeze. Come on down - we don't bite tho we often mix up our votes. Ha. Please do come to Florida next year - 'K?

Happy Birthday to Mr. Keillor. I'm looking forward to the Cape Cod show at the end of the month.


The time is 7:00 PM on August 12, 2008. I am sitting in a motel across the street from the West Virginia State Fair. Can't wait to see the live show at 8:00. My last experience was in Atlanta at the Fox Theater about 5 years ago. Keep up the excellent work.

Bruce Dalton

I went to the show at the Indiana State Fair last night.

I got the tickets for free from my employer...well, sort of for free. They were "free" in that they didn't cost me any money, but they did cost me some pleading and whining, as in "Please can't I have the Garrison Keillor tickets, please please ple-e-e-e-e-a-a-a-a-se? Nobody wants to see him as much as I do." But anyway, although I got the tickets for free, I would have paid real money had the pleading and whining not worked, and it would have been well worth it, too.

It was wonderful -- stunning weather, new (to me, anyway) comedy and fabulous music, all accompanied by sounds of the Indiana State Fair including the lonesome train whistle from the "Fair Train" (by far the niftiest way to get to the fair) that runs right by the fairgrounds. It was a fabulously memorable evening.

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, you're in for a treat. For those of you who aren't going to get to see sympathies!

Pendleton, Indiana

Dear Mr. Keillor, Miss Boggus and the complete Crew,

My wife and myself attended the Indianapolis 'Rhubarb Tour' show at the Indiana State Fair 2008 and enjoyed all of the skits, music and interplay that ALL of you provided. The Band was brilliant and easily heard (not too loud or soft!!). We have listened to you many times on PBS but going 'up nort a bit' is not possible so seeing you here was a special time. We have always appreciated all of your humour, insight and wistful thoughts of a more peaceful and slower lifestyle. Suzy Boggus was a joy to listen to (I know why she is not as pupular as the girls singing now, that is because she sings real Country not 'Pop') Our loss. Her clear voice echoed in all of our hearts and your duets were priceless. Mr. Keillor, I hope you continue to do this until the day you go 'upstairs' and then start the 'Prairie Heaven Companion'. Radio and the entertainment world truly needs you in this day of reality T.V. and poor programming. Even my 14 year old Daughter thinks you all are great. P.H.C. is a shining example of wholesome enjoyment we so desperatly need and seek. Cheers to all of you who make this show so special to so many. Thank you again for a truly wonderful time (and the standing break!!!) and this magnificent evening will be remembered for many years to come. Hope you all will come again. God Watch over your travels.

Don & Julie K.
Fishers, Indiana

Hello from the top of wv! Drove 5 hrs down to the state fair for the show... loved it!

My mother and I thoroughly enjoyed the Rhubarb tour last night in Bismarck, ND. We commented on the drive home to Minot how relaxed we both felt during and after the show.

The intermission was delightful with the group sing-a-long and audience members felt a part of something special.

Everyone, including the cast appeared to be having a wonderful time. I know we did.

It's 12:30pm in Seattle and I am so looking forward to this evening. It's hot today so it will be wonderfully warm tonight (somewhat of a treat here in the Pacific Northwest). Sitting outdoors listening to Mr Keillor and the PHC players - nothing sounds better right now...Thanks for the opportunity and enjoy our weather while it lasts!

I was fortunate enough to catch the Rhubarb Tour show at the WV State fair on Tuesday evening. My 23 year old son surprised me with tickets, and the both of us had a wonderful time, laughing and singing with you on that cool, beautiful evening. It made a lovely memory, one I will always treasure.

I know this is the second year you have been to Lewisburg ( I saw you last year too). Please come back again! I can't think of a more pleasant way to spend a summer evening than with you and your show. If my vote counts, come back to Lewisburg!

A WV fan,

Dear Mr Keelor:

One of the best shows ever (Indiana State Fair) It was truly memorable. Will this be broadcast on NPR? If so, when.

Many thanks,
Janine Hoover

Tonight I get to see the Rhubarb tour in Seattle (Redmond for you sticklers). This is the first time in quite a few years I have seen you live. The last time didn't work out too well.

It was in New York City about 15 years ago. On that show you read my marriage proposal. The audience "ahhhd" and she accepted. Unfortunately, two years later she ended up in jail (long story, but no violence) and I was single again.

About two years ago I moved from New York to Seattle. One of the harshest realities of uprooting to the frontier was the certain knowledge that Town Hall and PHC were a continent away. I know how those gold miners must have felt when they reached this soggy corner of the country.

Thanks to providence and your tour manager, my new wife (3 years today!) and I will be in the audience in Marymoor park to enjoy the Rhubarb tour. Thank you for bringing the show to the West.

Bob Walter

We drove 7 hours to see the PHC Rhubarb Show at WV State Fair, and it was, as expected - Great! We previously enjoyed the Alaska cruise of 2006, and are hoping that you and the cast may be up to something similar in the future. You provide an ongoing reminder to older Scandinavians such as we, to not take ourselves too seriously, or take the last slice of rhubarb pie when others remain to be fed.
Ken and Carol

I saw the show at the Indiana State Fair a couple of nights ago. The music was just fine, the sound effects guy was great, and Garrison did soem good monologues, but I felt there was something missing . . . . Where were the skits? Dusty and Lefty, the ketchup couple, may favorite--Guy Noir (mentioned by name in the promos)? Now I may never find the answers to life's persistent questions. Where were the references to local events and icons? What about the messages from the audience for folks listening at home? And what's with story about the lady with the lipstick--recyled from an earlier show as I recall?

Still, sitting in the grandstands, watching the sun set over the midway, hearing the train wistles mix with some pretty darn good music--can't complain too much.

I was able to see "the" first/kick-off show at the Big Top Chautaqua, the large circus tent between Washburn and Bayfield, Wi...always a great venue for most anything, but, especially to see and hear this performance...Garrison Keillor and this fine group-Rich Dworsky/Pat Donahue/Andy Stein/Joe Savage, et al are a pleasure to see and listen to...also, to name the absolutely gorgeous and friendly Suzy Boggus as a special guest is a primo choice (though I must confess, i did miss Prudence Johnson) Thank you all for a nice afternoon, and post-show shirt signing and informal conversation..I only wish I could've stayed for the second show, too..
"some day soon", Suzy...Also, in my haste, I forgot to wish Garrison a happy belated BD..... Thank you so much for coming up here..hope to see you all next summer..kind regards....Gary Koistinen

Mr. Keillor,

My wife and I attended your show at the Bismarck Civic Center this past Thursday evening. I muust say that the performance was not what I expected but was thourghly enjoyed! I anticipated a bit more of the "Prairie Home Companion" format, but this was a little more adlib. We really enjoyed the intermission and participating in the sing along. All in all a most enjoyable evening. We both hope that you follow up on your comment of bringing your radio show to our fair city! Sumus Quod Sumus!

Dear Garrison,

Bring your rain coat to Essex Junction, VT next week. In the past month we've had rain nearly every day...its starting to look like the Olympic Peninsula, lush and green. Bob and I saw you in Shelburne, VT a few years back, and are thrilled to be seeing you again.

We are bringing a friend from Ottawa who has only heard of you, and never seen you. Her name is Donna Winslow and if you do your messages to folks from friends far and near:

Happy Birthday to Donna faring from Canada's capital city, Ottawa. Bob and Marsha are thrilled that you made it to Vermont, and will spend your birthday here with them. Don't eat too many sausage, green pepper and onion sandwiches, and make sure to get over to the fruit and vegetable exhibit and see the biggest pumpkin grown this year, in Vermont."

Donna, an anthropologist has lived her whole life in the city, (Montreal and Ottawa) and has never been to a county fair. We hope to give her a taste of Vermont agriculture, Al's French Fries, 4-H exhibits and bingo...then your show! I am confident it will be one of her best birthdays yet!

Thanks for making Vermont a fairly regular stop. You have many fans here, and we are grateful for your humor, stories, music and the terrific cast and crew who work with you.

Best, Marsha Camp

I attended the show at the West Virginia State Fair on Tuesday night, and I was thrilled! You put on absolutely a great performance. I have listened to Prairie Home Companion for years, so I was thrilled to get to see you all in person. I met the lovely Suzy Bogguss after the show. She was so sweet and gave a stellar performance as well. Thanks for coming back to West Virginia. We love you!

We saw you show last night at the beautiful Santa Barbara Bowl. You became more than just a voice on the radio. I hope my new vision will not interfere with my enjoyment of your show on KCLU. I may have to work at this. I tried looking away from the stage several times last night to maintain the purity of my radio experience, but the spotlight kept interfering by pulling my eyes back to your presence.

We loved the show. The musicians were terrific. Susie was great. Mr. SoundMaker was marvelously creative. And you, well, you were in top form. I hope you come back to Santa Barbara soon.

Your big radio fan.

We had the great pleasure of attending your show at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington. We've attended every summer for the last 4 years and this was hands down our favorite. That Susie Bogguss has got some pipes! There is such a sense of community at your shows that we came away feeling we had attended with friends. Thank you for a funny, heartwarming and even romantic evening. Seeing all us old married couples wrapped in each others arms during the intermission sing a long was touching. I just wish you could have the opportunity to sit in the audience and experience the magic you create. See you next summer!

Hi - We have a state fair too, thanks for coming to little ol' Oregon and we are looking forward to this very much.
Gerg Ezalg & and charming lovely wife Nasus Reklaw Ezalg. We are kind of backwords people if you get what I'm saying!

We just saw your show in Bismarck last night. You touched my shoulder and made my night. You have to bring the radio show to Bismarck along with Suzy Bogguss singing Nightriders Lament. Absolutely wonderful and memorable show.

I just wanted to take a monent and personaly thank you for a wounderful evening this last friday. It was very nice to make your acquaintance,even though it was just for a brief moment when I shoock your hand i'll never forget it. One of my favorite moments of the show was the intermission sing along somethig unexpected came over me, like a spiritual feeling, it was a beautiful moment for me. once again THANK YOU MR. KEILLOR

We were visiting family and decided that we just can't wait until you come to Sandpoint, ID. The performance last night at the Santa Barbara Bowl was nothing short of fabulous. View of the Pacific Ocean, under the oak trees, eating sushi and watching Garrison Keillor with my family. Midway through the concert, the full moon rose behind you.
It was one of those "Life doesn't get much better than this" moments.
Thank you!

Please let Suzy Bogguss know that her "female" renditions of a male song was a great idea. She sang beautifully.

Dear Mr. Keillor,

I saw your show for the first time this August 16th. Nearly bursting with great anticipation, I made the 135 mile drive to the gorgeous Santa Barbara seaside for only the second time in my life. As a party of one, I was able to attain a fantastic seat in the second row. There, in such close proximity to your figure, I hardly felt alone. What an amazing experience! Thank you especially for opening the show with a classic song that I remember from my childhood. I think I might have been one of very few people singing along with you to "Volver, Volver" so I want you to know how wonderful it made me feel, and how fitting that it would be on my own return to Santa Barbara. You may not remember the 23 year old brunette with the braces filled smile, but I will certainly never forget you and your touching performance.


Ever since I was little my Saturdays were filled with Prairie Home Companion because my dad LOVES the show. I am now 26, and have become a faithful listener myself. As a special treat I surprised my dad and stepmom with tickets to the show in Seattle. We had such a great time and I am definitely their favorite child now!

many thanks!


P.S. Just in case your wondering I have 4 younger brothers!

The show at Red Butte gardens in Salt Lake City was the best PHC I've been too, including my visit to the Fitzgerald Theatre. Thanks for such a memorable, fun and enjoyable evening.

Dear Mr. Keillor,
Just wanted to let you know how much fun I had last night at your Salt Lake City show. I imagine being on the road night after night can be very gruelling but your level of showmanship at last night's performance sure didn't hint of it. I remember being forced to watch the Lawrence Welk show with my parents as a small child and deciding at a very tender age that I really HATED "variety" shows. Perhaps I need to take another look at the genre and perhaps introduce my teenagers to it. Thanks for the show! Beth Saul

Great show in Santa Barbara Garrison. The whole evening was fantastic. I enjoyed the lack of the time constraits that accompany a live broadcast.
You couldn't see it from the stage but most of the audience got to enjoy a full moon rise as the show progressed. Thanks for all the energy and time you put into bringing the show to us.
Your show has become like the apple cobbler grandma used to make. Sometimes it was a little tart. Other times the crust was a little too crisp. More often it was gone before I'd had enough.

I attended your show in SLC on Tuesday. I loved your rendition of "Volver, volver" in Spanish. I think I was the only Mexican in the audience who really, really appreciated this song. Suzy and the band were awesome along with Mr. Newman.
I took all of my family and some friends along, several of them children. You could have done without the sexual jokes.
Do you always play to White Anglo-Saxon, cheese and crackers, wine drinking, pseudo-intellectual audiences like the one on this show? I truly enjoyed the show, but I felt out of place with this audience. Is this weird or what?
My wife and I will love to see your show again. The kids, they will wait a few more years for a live show but will continue to listen on the radio.
Give our warmest greetings to all the members of the group, technical and musical. Best of luck to all!!
Francisco - Ogden, Utah

I was happily among those in the audience at the West Virginia State Fair. You should know that a delightful little community formed in the A section (would have been to your left from the stage, down front). These were the seats held by our wonderful NPR station, WVTF Roanoke/Blackburg VA (a service of Virginia Tech), and those of us lucky enough to sit in them were all members and contributors. Before the show, we passed fudge and cookies around and shared "where ya'll frum?" stories. Then it was "where'd ya'll park?" and "how much trouble will we have getting out of the lot?", etc. But this delightful community was so much fun to be a part of, and as delightful as anything that you did on stage. We had fun together, all strangers connected by our enjoyment of NPR. That night, we made our own little Lake Woebegone community right there, on your left. It was a lovely, lovely night. Thank you. Janet Jayne

Dear Mr Keillor and the whole cast & crew of The Rhubarb Tour:

Last night, my sister and I attended your show at the fabulous Great Auditorium by-the-sea in Ocean Grove, NJ. What a magical night! You were in top form (at one point you told us you just turned 66 but we sincerely don't believe it!)and we enjoyed every minute of the show--all 3 HOURS of it!

We loved the singalongs, Fred Newman, the News from Lake Woebegon, Suzy B., and especially your fantabulous band! Afterwards, we strolled to our car along the boardwalk, under the stars and moon (which of course you can't take credit for, but they seemed like part of the package). We got home to NYC at 1 am, tired but totally happy and satisfied.

Thanks for a terrific evening!

Deryn and Nicole Verity
Osaka, Japan & NYC

Greeting from Santa Barbara ! It IS beautiful, isn't it ? As a native, I guess I sometimes take it for granted. I took my teenage daughter to see you the last time you were here (several years ago); and my husband this time. It was the perfect evening. We can't wait to see you again. Too bad we don't live in St. Paul, as do my cousins, Judy and Lee. They get to see you live, fairly often.

Fondly, Carolyn and Dan

My husband and I saw the Ocean Grove show last night and thoroghly enjoyed it. I loved singing with you, Garrison. "The Red River Valley" is one of my favorite folk songs and the moist sea air was great for the vocal chords. Thanks for including some classic hymns.
As a loyal radio fan, it was great to see you and Mr. Newman playing off of one another.
See you next time!

I have enjoyed your radio program for years and was always missing the opportunity to see you in person due to circumstances beyond my control! Now since moving back to my home state of Indiana, I actually have had the opportunity to see you twice this year; first at Indiana University and second, at the Indiana State Fair. This is partly due to my sister, who lives in Bloomington and she bought my tickets both times! I owe her a lot! Love your show, and hope to see you someday in St. Paul!!

Dear Mr. Keillor,

My husband, daughter, and I have been radio fans for many years. We had purchased a special Christmas gift for all of us for a live performance at Town Hall in NY. When our daughter required emergency surgery 3 days before the performance, we were grateful the operation was successful and she was given a 100% recovery prognosis. But we thought your show was a "no-go" until our daughter told us she wasn't going to miss it! You and all the performers were the best medicine she could have had. We're going to make it a traditional annual event! Thanks. Barbara

Dear Garrison,

I too am from the flatlands and was in awe of the towering rock structures Wednesday night at your show at Red Rocks Ampitheatre! It was the third show I have attended of yours - all in a different state - the first one at the Iowa State Fair (I am from the plains of Iowa), the second at the Fitz where I took my parents as a surprise, and this third one in Colorado.

I went to your first show because I took my dad for his birthday...the second one I went to because I wanted to surprise my parents and was interested in seeing the Fitz...and this third one I went to for me...because I was extremely excited to see the show with my husband!

Being at your show with the cool breeze blowing on a summer night reminded me of a hot and muggy summer day on our farm 20 years ago when my brother, sister, and I were helping Dad clean out the garage and listening to some story on the radio about a town called Lake Woebegon and not really knowing what to think...was this stuff really true? :)

Thanks for creating something so special that helps bond our family!

Amy R.

I grew up with phc as a child with no tv in semi rural alaska. Phc also made for a great way to spend time with my father on a weekends through my early 20's. No that ive moved far away from my father I feel closer to him than ever when i listen to phc. Living in the LA area and getting to see it twice this year has been an extra special treat. I alwasy think of my dad and my family in st joe, minnesota when i listen to or watch phc. The LA show was ok but Santa Barabara was awesome. I loved it. Was Suzy cold sitting there on the side stage i wondered? I mostly listen to country music and I love most of suzy's songs. Rhubarb tour was killer. GK add me on myspace! Do you have a myspace? get with the times man...

Lisa and I drove 400 mi from Durango to see the Red Rocks show in Denver. She gave us tickets for our birthdays and we have not had a better present. Perfect and gorgeous weather that turned to a beautiful starlit evening with one of the worlds best performing troupes on stage. It was a great collection of all our best times together- best night under the stars, best campfire entertainment, best concert experience, and a laugh a minute. We loved it all and we were happy to be a part of such a genuine, brilliant, and down to earth performance. Until next time! J.W.

Well after reading the comments from the Indiana State Fair and Salt Lake City I guess we should be thrilled that Mr. Keillor came to little old Ocean Grove, NJ by the seashore last night. It was a beautiful evening with a balmy breeze blowing off the ocean and everyone's voices were in great harmony in the grand old Great Auditorium of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. Suzy Bogguss and the Shoe Band were fabulous - we just needed to hear more of them in the first half of the show. Mr. Keillor gave us all a wonderful history lesson on the Methodists who established the Camp, and probably raised a few spiritual eyebrows with the help of Fred Newman's sound effects on his classic sperm on the move story. All in all - a great night in a beautiful and historic hall by the Jersey Shore.

Thanks so much for a wonderful show August 23, 2008 at the Champlain Valley Fair! Your comment about those in attendance who had been forced to listen to the show as children really resonated. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed it...and I loved the Rhubarb Tour t-shirts but they were sold out at the show...please make these available at your online store!! Thanks again -- Kirsten

Hubby and I really enjoyed your show at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado Wednesday night. Loved the duets with Susie Bogguss. Thanks for stopping by!

Suzanne & William

Dear Garrison,
Thank you so much for the truly fantastic show you and the whole Rhubarb Tour team performed last night at Gilford, NH. This is my 4th time attending your show and you just keep getting better & better which I didn't think was possible.
I must tell you to watch out ..... Fred Newman stole the show!! I look forward to seeing you again next year. Or, if I'm brave enough, I may venture out to St. Paul to see your show in your home State. Minnesota winters can't be worse than our New Hampshire winters, can they?

I just got home from the Rhubarb Tour. I laughed, I cried and I had a wonderful time. Keep singing the the song about the death of Robin Hood. It's very moving. Oh, and by the way, don't even think about coming back to New Hampshire without Fred Newman.

My wife and I celebrated our 10th anniversary at the Rhubarb Tour show in Essex, VT. After years of listening to PHC on the radio and on tape when I was overseas (thanks to loyal friends), it was a real treat for both of us to see the show in person.

Thank you for such a wonderful time last night as well as all the other shows that we've listened to over the past years. Ya'll have a unique and precious talent.

I've listened to you on the radio for more than 25 years and though I used to live in the Twin Cities I had never seen you on stage until your visit to Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado. I simply wanted to say 'thank you' for coming to this little corner of the west. Suzy Bogguss was a genuine treat, you and your troupe made for a very enjoyable evening. I sincerely hope to see you perform on stage again.

Dearest Garrison:
I'm looking at the calendar and thinking that it's just about time that you and the traveling show are wrapping up the Rhubarb Tour. We caught the show on a wonderful warm and full-mooned night here in the greater Seattle region, and enjoyed every minute of it. Oh, at least a dozen times I've repeated your line about the difference between a good pumpkin pie and a bad pumpkin pie*, and each and every time it evokes a robust guffaw from my listener. Thanks for one dang good joke. At the heart of every good joke is a kernel of truth, don't you think? Even a bad joke, and Lord knows there have been many on APHC, delivers a bit of verasity. Still, even for the bad jokes, I thank you. We laugh at them all.

And now, please take a well-earned vacation before starting the new season. We want you refreshed and rejuvinated.

Sharen Heath
* no difference

We received tickets for the Vermont Fair show from our son in Vancouver BC last January. He listens to the web each week.

What a treat! We loved your 'Soap in Vermont' skit. Luckily we scored a shirt early in the evening to send west.

The whole show was full of fun as every show is. I hope we catch you next time you are by.

I have listened to you probably almost since you started. Being a Midwesterner, now in Vermont which I love, you bring to me a bit of home each week. I was so fortunate to be in the audiance Sat. night at the Champlain Valley Fair and it was a wonderful evening. In one of your postings you commented about the musicians you have around you and all I can say is Amen. The people around you were truly wonderfuland very talented. I laughed so hard at your skit about trying to find soap here in Vt. I work at a Coop and just last week a women came in asked me if we had just some plain old soap. I sold her some Ivory. As we get older, I am about your age, I think it is important we bring to the younger generations the type of entertainment you present. I hope you can keep on for another 35 years. Thanks for all the memories and the wonderful show.

Saw the show last summer at Tanglewood and loved it.
Couldn't make it this year, but hope to see you in NYC this winter.

How do you get your stage and paraphernalia from Denver to NJ in one day, or New Hampshire to New Mexico in 2, allowing time for tear-down and set-up?
Do you have more than one stage? Or use an existing stage in most of these venues?

My husband and I attended your Rhubard tour in Bismarck a week of so ago and could not have enjoyed it more. I told my husband that last time I was so excited was when I saw John Prine. What a treat

My husband, Robert, introduced me to your radio show two years ago when we met. When I saw you were coming to the Indiana State Fair, I just had to buy tickets for him. We thoroughly enjoyed your show - especially the way you incorporated the Fair Train whistle into the conversation. And thank you so much for the standing intermission and sing-a-long. The evening was beautiful, the show delightful and we just want to thank you for a wonderful evening!

Loved the show at the Expo! It was the perfect summer night for the fair and your show. just one little suggestion. Next time you're in VT, have Moonlight In Vt played on the bari sax! Much sexier!

What a fantastic show at the Champlain Valley Fair in Essex Junction, VT! You are a rock star.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make the Rhubarb tour shirts available online...we missed out and will buy a bushel.
Also , in yesterday's local paper, page 3, there was a huge ad for the "Vermont Gluten -Free Festival". No mention of Bob Dylan playing there, either. Thanks so much for a wonderful evening.

My wife and I enjoyed your show last night at the Santa Fe Opera. It was a night of many "firsts" for us; the first time we have been to the venue (although we live only 70 miles away); the first time she has heard you; the first time we have seen you in person and the first time I've teared-up since the loss of my father 2 years ago. I'm sure both your late father and mine were keeping the rain away from the show, just so we could all stay connected for the three and one-half hours.

Oh, and what great voice Suzy Bogguss has! She's one classy lady, and a favorite of mine for many years.

A perfect Santa Fe evening! You all come back soon, hear!

Garrison, I was fortunate enough to obtain a ticket to a second row seat to your show last Saturday night and it was certainly not a second rate seat. I never turned around and looked back, though, as a Midwestern boy, I could feel the eyes of everyone from the third row and back, all the way to the uppermost row in the grandstand, burning a hole in the back of my head for having a better seat. The folks in front of me must have had to resort to loading up on deep-fried onion blooms before the show to help keep their minds off of the crowd behind them. Anyway, you put on a great show and I'm glad the spectacle of the midway from the stage wasn't lost on you. That was quite the suit you were wearing with your color coordinated shoes and tie. May your unruly hair never be as color coordinated with that suit, Andy

Saw the show in Essex Jct. great adlib about the train, loved the song about relieving oneself.

I would like to pick up some rhubarb tour Tee shirts, unfortunately they sold out before I could get some. Is there any way to order these online> I have just gone all the way to the end of the internet looking without success

Nothing but respect for an entertainer who stays in there during intermission so the crew can take the break.

Dear Garrison and crew:

Enjoyed your Rhubarb tour show at the Oregon State Fair in Salem last night. Three full hours of non-stop entertainment - including the standing intermission! I get tickets to see your show anytime you are within driving distance of Portland and encourage my wife to join me - she said last night's show was her favorite. Thank you for sharing the story of Lake Wobegon from your book "Pontoon"....I laughed until I cried reading it and now I get to hear it directly from your voice (which I hear when I read anyway!) I know people around the country beg you to come to their towns, but please don't stay away long from our area, we will break out our two settings of China for you when you return and will cook your burger rare, as you like it, ....and let us know how the rhubarb sauce tastes. Thank you...Suzy...and the whole crew for a wonderful time.

We are transplanted Minnesotans who thoroughly enjoyed last night's Rhubarb Tour. It was an evening of the new (Oregon State Fair) and the familiar (PHC memories). While both experiences were all we hoped for, we would be lying if we said we didn't miss Jim Ed and the dairy princess butter heads. Please keep the Northwest in your future itineraries. (We'll even teach you how to pronounce Couch and Glisan streets.)

Mr Keillor and the rest of the Rhubarb crew:
I thoroughly enjoyed your show this past Tuesday at the Santa Fe Opera House... and I am glad it didnt rain!
Where was Sue Scott?
I was hopeful I would be able to shake your hand after the show and thank you for all you have added to my life over the years..... I will have to come to St Paul next time and try again.

Thanks for the Wonderful Show last night, August 27th. Last time you came to the Oregon State Fair it was a good show, there are no bad
ones. This was the best!

Loved everything. Really appreciated the National Anthem at the beginning of the event. I loved all the songs and stories, especially the one about your Father. Could really relate to that song. I've always been sorry my Dad never had the chance to appreciate your humor and showmanship; he died in 1965.

There was so much I wish it had been recorded so I could enjoy it again.

Hope you come back soon, I think the house was packed!

Dear Mr. Keillor,
Wanted to say thanks from the bottom of my heart for your performance last night in Salem, Oregon. I have to say I had
not heard that much about you until my cousin won tickets on OPB and asked if I'd like to go.

I am now hooked and will be tuning into your radio show now on Saturday afternoons here in Oregon. You renewed my spirit in this country, as I am not impressed by what has taken place in the last eight years with Bush and Cheney!!!

Take care, keep up the good work, you give much to anyone looking for real down home entertainment. God Bless.

The wife and I had a great time at the show at the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, N.J. The show was fantastic and the weather was wonderful and cool. If you were not lucky enough to get to the Rhubarb Tour, there's always next year. It was real entertaining and enjoyed by all. MJM

Saw your show at the Great Autitorium the other night. My Wife and I had a great time.We were amazed you spoke and sang for two hours non-stop during the first act of the show. Then during the second act you were at the side of the stage as the others performed and you seemed to be in deep thought.What the heck were you thinking about or were you just having a well earned rest. Thanks for the wonderful show. MJ Menzella

Albert Webster here, stage/tour manager for the Rhubarb Tour. We're back off the road, heading in to the last leg of the tour, at the Fitzgerald rehearsing for tomorrow night at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all of your kind words and appreciation for our tour shows. The best part of the Rhubarb Tours, for me, is sitting on the side of the stage watching these incredible performers refine the show every night. Suzy has brought me to tears more times than once, Garrison's monologue and the lipstick story are re-crafted nightly, Fred always finds something new to break us up, and the band is absolutely just smoking. Of course, this is just my opinion. Now that I've had a few minutes to sit down and read your comments, I am gratified that many of you share my love for the show.

I did want to answer Peter Capek's question about how we get around so quickly on the Rhubarb Tour. There are two things that make it possible. One is that Russ and his truck stay home. We carry a relatively small amount of equipment--according to my manifest 32 pieces weighing 2,155 pounds, plus a good chunk of personal luggage. A far cry from the 15 tons that Russ and Hank haul around. We rely on each venue to provide most of what we need, and I am very thankful that all of them have done a great job for us.

The other key element of the Rhubarb Tour is a charter plane. This year it was an Embraer 145 Regional Jet provided by the good folks at Premier Charter Services. After the show we pack up and head directly for the airport. They let us drive right out on to the tarmac, the crew loads the plane, the flight attendant hands out dinner, and we taxi out to the runway. It's a bit daunting checking in to a hotel at 3:00am, but it does mean we get a solid chunk of time to sleep or explore the town before heading out to the next show.

Thanks to you all for taking the time to let us know about the show,


Thanks, Albert for the inside information you have inside information on where to get tour t-shirts for the folks that missed out "due to popular demand"? wove 'oregonianisms' thro-out a marvelous three hours of laughter,joy,music and fun...the background of the faira nd the stars--perfection...
you make it 'look so very easy'..I felt you could have gone on all night....thank you Mr Garrison...
You are the Best!! xxoooo linda a oregon

My good friend Amy Jo is the only person I know younger than 30 that is as huge a fan of PHC as I. Imagine our excitement when the Rhubarb Tour was announced for a stop in Des Moines, just a hop and a skip east of our Omaha. We trapped our husbands in the car and headed for the Iowa State Fair, home of the famous Butter Cow and pork- chops-on-a-stick. The highlight of our tour of the fair was seeing Garrison near the Clydesdale horse - just a scant three feet away from us...and Amy and I thought we'd die! Later, in the Grandstand, we weren't disappointed. The show was fantastic, the entire cast was incredible, and of course, Garrison was his usual awesome self. From the bottom of my Husker heart, I thank you for sharing your talents.

Dear Garrison,

Your show at the Oregon State Fair was fun and memorable, accented with locomotive whistles, screaming bungee thrill-seekers, and the thump thump thump of the midway carnival. I was especially impressed with the way you connected with the audience. Circulating among the people, walking behind the latecomers like Grouch Marcs and singing to youngsters, was great fun. But I must ask, how does a man of a certain age keep up the grueling schedule you are committed, going from one fair to another distant fair?

Lowell F

PS: I had hoped to hear Guy Noir take a sip of Pinot Noir!

What a wonderful evening at the Oregon State Fair. A clear sky, Suzy singing the songs I've loved for years, Garrison telling those wonderful stories & getting the crowd to sing as only he can, Fred cracking everyone up and that fantastic band! It was perfect! By the way, Pat, the reason the entire east end of the amphitheater started laughing when you started singing "What goes up, must come down" is that the gigantic bungee sling took off into the air at that exact moment. Perfect timing . . . as only a truly great musician can manage!! Thanks to the entire gang for bringing so much joy to that huge crowd. Great haircut, Rich!

I just want to let you know how much I enjoyed your show on the 27th August at the Oregon State Fair. It was three hours of sheer delight, and left me wondering how on earth Fred Newman makes all those incredible sounds with (it seems) nothing but a plastic water bottle to help him. And the group singing was great - made me feel like I really participated in the show. And thanks, too, to Suzy and the band. I do hope you will all be back again soon. The "Pontoon" precis was hilarious - loved the book but hearing the story in your own voice made it even funnier, if that is possible.

Thanks to you and the crew for bringing your show to Massachusetts - we had a great time at the tour finale in Cohasset. Thanks, too, for introducing us to the talented Suzy Bogguss - enjoyed both her original music and her take on others' work. And the band is just incredible - what a crack team of musicians. And then there's Fred, whose work is pretty much inimitable - the hoops you create for him to jump through!
The whole evening could have been happily spent with any given element of the show - giving us a good variety kept us wanting more.... Which must be a good thing for someone in the performing arts - nice to have folk show up at the next show!
Safe travels to you all as you head home, take a breather, and recharge for the next creative push.
Sorry we couldn't stay after the show to give our personal regards and congratulations, but since we don't live in the immediate area (no, that mansion down the road is not ours), we had a little hike before we could call it a night. Thanks for all the hard work, creative wit and splendid music.

Outstanding show on Cape Cod the other night. Seeing you live has turned my wife over to the dark side, prior to witnessing a live performance she wasn't much interested in PHC, thank you. And what a great choice to bring Suzy Bogguss on board for the tour, what an outstanding performance she put forth. Thanks Again!!!!!

Let me be the first to compliment you and the rest of the performers and crew for a great show in Hyannis. I've been looking forward to seeing you perform for years, but Minnesota, and even Tanglewood, seem mighty far to go.
Everything about the show was terrific. The band was top-notch, and you and Suzy and Fred were marvelous. You always manage to conjure a grand sense of community and joyfulness. Sunday night was magical for me.


My husband and I have enjoyed PHC since our grad school days at NDSU in Fargo (1976-83 for him, 1978-85 for me); he saw you in Fargo, too. Our daughters (17 and 19) are hooked on the show and were so excited when they heard that the Rhubarb Tour was coming to the Iowa State Fair! The girls chose PHC over Josh Turner! It was a beautiful night, with the midway to our right and the sunset to our left, warm but not hot and no mosquitoes. Suzy Bogguss is even better in person than on the radio and the other music was wonderful--what a treat to enjoy the musical talent of the young winner of the Bill Riley Talent Search! My favorite segment, though, was "Casey at the Bat (Road Game)" because Garrison did it without notes! Either he really has a good memory or he was making up parts as he went along--the line about cheese (I looked it up online to refresh my memory) was particularly funny!

What a fabulous show you did in Ocean Grove, NJ; and what a great, great place to see it in. I hope you come back next year...

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